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Tournaments Are Fun

  by Richard Pavlicek

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play in a bridge tournament? Well, quit wondering. The Broward County unit of the American Contract Bridge League will hold its annual winter tournament this coming weekend (March 7-9) at the Holiday Park Activity Center, 730 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale. Four separate events are planned for newcomers: Friday, 1:30 and 8:00 P.M., and Saturday, 1:30 P.M. and 8:00 P.M.

What to do? All you need do is arrive before game time — if you need a partner, come about a half hour early and one will be arranged for you. The entry fee is less than the cost of a movie and includes free orange juice and coffee. You will play duplicate bridge for three hours. Then you may watch the scores tallied by computer (exciting to see). And who knows? You might be surprised how well you did!

Today’s deal occurred in last year’s tournament and a normal four-heart contract was reached at most tables. West began by cashing two high spades and then shifted to the diamond jack. With an obvious club loser remaining, declarer had to guess which way to finesse in trumps to capture the queen. Some guessed right; some did not. Would you have guessed it? Now be honest!

4 H South
Both Vul
S J 5 4 2
H K 10 3
D Q 3
C K 9 7 4

1 S

2 H
4 H

1 H
3 H
S A K Q 9 3
H Q 2
D J 10 4
C 6 5 2
TableS 10 7
H 8 6 4
D 9 8 7 6 5
C Q J 10

Lead: S K
S 8 6
H A J 9 7 5
D A K 2
C A 8 3

An expert hates guesses and tries to improve the odds. The proper technique on this deal is to postpone leading trumps. Win the diamond queen; ruff a spade (East cannot do anything to bother you); diamond ace; diamond king (throwing a club); club ace; club king; then ruff the last spade. Now exit with your losing club and you remain with A-J-9 opposite K-10-3 in trumps. With the enemy on lead, you couldn’t guess wrong if you tried!

The recommended play is not foolproof (it is possible that a club or diamond honor could get ruffed); but it is far superior to just tossing a coin.

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© 1986 Richard Pavlicek